With the return to fall sports and the classroom after the pandemic, teens will face new challenges this school year. High school sports have always put pressure on teens to perform optimally and keep an athletic physique. Pandemic deconditioning will add additional stress for teens to meet pre-existing standards of athletic performance as well as social pressure to be fit.

As we enter this new season, parents and coaches need to be mindful about keeping conversation positive about food, performance, and achievements. 

If you aren’t sure where to start, here are some pointers:

  • Don’t focus on weight. Instead, focus on other markers of success, like race times, jump height, and strength. 
  • Resist comparing teens to each other. Instead, celebrate personal improvements, demonstrations of good character, and openness to try new things
  • Instead of focusing on calorie counting, focus on healthy eating habits
  • Instead of focusing on calorie burn, focus on enjoying physical activity
  • Talk about all foods in a positive way. Discuss how they will nourish the body
  • Role model healthy eating, staying active, and positive body image to your teen

Watch out for these things: 

  • Teens should not do crash diets, especially if they are still going through puberty. Dieting can stunt teen growth and development and negatively impact sports performance.
  • If teens lose more than 1-2 pounds per week, they risk losing muscle mass instead of fat. The opposite is also true; if teens gain more than 1-2 pounds per week, they risk gaining fat mass instead of muscle mass.
  • Look out for signs of eating disorders

If your teen is struggling with adopting a healthy eating pattern, check out TNT Youth. TNT Youth uses intuitive eating principles and education to help your teen take charge of his or her nutrition. Intuitive eating is all about listening to your body’s signals to tell you what it needs. Additionally, TNT Youth teaches teens how to:

  • Read nutrition labels
  • Pair protein, carbs, and fat for balanced meals and snacks
  • Form a healthy fueling plan for before, during, and after sports


Read more about safe weight loss and weight gain in teenagers

Read more about our TNT Youth Program

Follow TNT Kids on YouTube for positive food and nutrition messaging targeted towards teens and youth.